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Document Deep South. Fields of cotton and factory in the heart of Dixie. A revealing story of progress in the area documented with on the spot recordings by the radio broadcasting service extension division. University of Alabama. For the next 30 minutes he will make a transcribed trip through the day. You will see the significance of a new industrial solved by changing self. You will see how determined people turn nature's planty into prosperity. A move that more than ever is making itself felt and our nation's economy. That story tapestry.
To get. The south you'll see is a fabric fashioned of many design. Distinctive in its pattern of progress. And a woman with spirit and spiritual of an unforgettable ear. Just south of you here he is ageless harmony it's history and like heat waves will hang heavy upon the August stare to see negroes bending low picking cotton is to resurrect a past event about the merest talk or see. Yet you see them you see them unseen wherever you travel in the Cotton Belt. Only today the long rows
lead to horizons of industry. The change you know changing South. You're interested in this change for instance. How does it affect cotton. Left it pretty hard to the King Kock. Cotton production is the early dawn of the agricultural. Day here and. There that is why they owe it to your individual economic. Study. Well really Toby do whatever it is. The. LRA covered that in verse 51. Which were. Relatively good. Here were roughly 200 foreign media who were the war. That's Arkansas. We're only 16 counties but do 75 percent of the state's cotton yield. Yet there was a day when there was a cotton
gin in every community even high up in Ozark country. Now it's a matter of producing more cotton on less acreage in Tennessee the same story. The top money crop cotton and in Mississippi. Well you find that's the number two cotton state in the nation. Well we've got crime and what's going on. Regular preparation for another cotton crop. Oh you go play it got bad. We hope to go but God well that's down the river bottoms and all of that it is spring planting time. Yeah and do fashion this fabric of the future you talk with a cotton farmer. We've never lost one crop on the river. All right you've got no you're you're
breaking good lad what what's the next thing you go and do. Like saying we're doing beat a desk and went to a desk at this fertilizer plant and required it is ideal climatic conditions warm weather and rain at the right time. That's why I became keen down Dixie way. Now of course after the civil law. A lot between the states what you'd serve here in Columbia South Carolina you listening is Dr. James a Mars associate professor of economics at the University of South Carolina. We use a little past into your fabric of the future. All right. Professor Mars as you were saying after this is the War Between the States. South Carolina was prostrate. King Cotton was dead. And there was a period of readjustment. And into this vacuum. Came the cotton textile industry beginning. In the 1880s.
Communities raise finances machinery companies loaned money. And Cotton was used from the surrounding fields and the cotton textile industry filled part of that vacuum left by the cotton growing industry. Then again going farther along into the 1920s the whole agricultural economy of South Carolina was in a deplorable condition. And it was at this time in the 1920s that the cotton text tool industry really grew here. And became. And South Carolina eventually became and is at this time the number one cotton textile industry state in the union. And so the tapestry was strengthened when the Waffen went to text tools with the development of diversification and South Carolina. And the South. The merge from the shadow of a common economy today you discover it's different. The South is no longer dependent on cotton. But
Cotton does occupy a prominent part of Southern economy. Just exactly what part do you ask. Well with the coming of industrialization there came new methods of doing things. And among these manmade fibers today names like Gray are in Oregon nylon acrobat an tend to push cotton out of the picture. Are they succeeding. What is the situation today you ask to get the full story you travel to Decatur Alabama. Outside of Decatur in the field it once grew cotton. There's a multimillion dollar plant and Research Center at the chemist Rand Corporation makers of Akron. You talk with Dr. Frank J someday. He is director of research and development. We're.
So carton is still first. Well that's that's hard to believe. After all when other threads of interest are incorporated in this fabric called the new south when it stands to reason that cotton would take a tumble. You ask your cotton farmer about this. Do you put it is much too much. Many acres and cotton is used. Yes so we put as many acres. But wait it doesn't take the labor that it used to watch a deaf and satellite Well the mechanized farming brought the labor down to where one man with a good tractor had it to do approximately what ten men used to do that man then to walk in the industries and jobs. But you raise a little more cotton clay couldn't you use to you think. Yes
I am proving that way than any other improvements you think I've been in the deal. Well we get more far right but everything else costs so much more that you know what he needs. But now you're beginning to understand you understand now how today's loom of sudden activity can develop a cloth of many colors a many implications to produce other products despite the fact that it might take a cotton field to do it does not mean the Dixie today is cutting down on cotton production. The South still remains one of the kneading cotton producing sections of the world. How is it accomplished. Yes sir we put in as many acres. But it doesn't take the labor that it used to. Well it's a definitely a layout of mechanized farming brought to lay but I wanted a way out one way and with a good attitude already approximately what used.
Mechanization there are over a million tractors in the south today. In fact tractor sales have soared 100 and 14 percent in the south in the last five years as compared to 26 percent in the nation. Yes mechanization and conservation are the 10 top speeds in miles of terraces constructed and that is measures to prevent erosion. The South has 9 the south two has the only states in the nation with annual plantings of more than a million acres of come across mechanization conservation and improved methods and experimentation has developed newer methods and means to grow bigger better yields of cotton. Because of this attention to scientific farming such enemies as the boll weevil have been reduced to a minor threat. Yes the cotton farm of today has everything on his side except sometimes the weather. Well the.
Biggest problem that we have had. Unavoidable situation according to the. Well I think there's no two years or a life where we're not good weather prophets. If we can get up the standard gotta get it started off for a while. We. Put a follow up. It's a gamble but millions of Southern farmers still find in can an excellent money crop. And so wherever you travel in the Cotton Belt you pass wide speckled with white and bursting you pass pickers young and old bending low over this polka dot pattern. Lending spirit and spirit to a tapestry that has long been a tradition. This is about the beginning. Well the production the harvest
to occupy its place of prominence in the fabric of the future. Cotton must go through many processes. The first of these is located right in the cotton community. And in November if you are around you see long lines of trucks tractor trailers and occasionally a mule drawn wagon loaded with fluffy cotton. They usually pass down Main Street. Dave it's a small town pass a drug store and barbershop to the two story barn like building made of galvanized metal. Located on the outskirts here the plant has a responsibility ends and the ingenuity of Eli Whitney begins. And so. Of course this is plating. And oh. He widens trucks. With trailers that good about automobiles or pickup trucks with trailers
platen to the upside and pipe that wakes up. And brings it on in sod that plat. For two or three months and yeah there's a very active place right now. Courses and kind of thing going on but it's just and right and as far they see it and when the crowd will be pouring through again I'd like to know something about this stuff. What goes on in your cotton crimes without Saad and picked up bus stops and just what happens to it. Clones are separate. I've been up on top. Yes let it be said the lives cut in jail has come a long way.
From a crude homemade creation to a complicated machine of shafts and augers. He condition of those conveyor belts. And would do what need be proud if he could but stand with you. Even now this minute. To gaze upon the cobwebs of idleness. And hear only the echo of the operator's explanation. He will be proud in the realization that here was the ultimate of the dream. That here was his contribution to a fabulous past. For the fortune a more promising. Fields. Cotton is not to be counted out in the spinning of this yarn and the weaving of a story a brain with sensational developments for cotton today is a source of a tremendous industrial movement and thereby ironically enough is
helping to we need the aid an economic problem that began in the days when it was a sauce number one crop. You visit some of the textile centers you see bales of cotton go in and bolts of cloth come out. You talk with cotton mills manages you talk over their problems what they are doing to solve them. One problem is changing fashions as one man put it. What you making today may be out of style tomorrow. Right now you are in the office of Mr. 80 Elliot vice president of the Huntsville Alabama manufacturing company. You ask him about this as changeable as it is labeled customers that they don't like to continue with a sign that. Reads you're faced with. Rewards on their part with which you try to force Warren. Thing we'd rather do is to guess what they are going to want next year. So far we've been pretty lucky that we messed with.
The Huntsville plant like most milling concerns is a member of a large family of textile farms scattered throughout the south. Some originated in the land of cotton. Others migrated southward from New England or in the formation of this textile tapestry. The shuttle must shift from New England to Dixie in a matter of decades before 1920 most of the cotton was shipped north. But then the industry awakened a new and natural potentialities below the Mason-Dixon line by 925 the cotton growing states of the South had attracted a majority of the existing text to firms and thus moved ahead in the manufacture of cotton goods. The South reached its zenith in 1930 when more than eight and one half million spend those were recorded a video of our World Expo. Will the past 25 or 30 years to the movement of if I will New England to the star. Know that move that is about our world. We can say that pretty
clearly because there isn't much left in us so we dilute. Our tax bill is what we make all however a relatively elastic industry that is when those run and people increase their consumption generally. They do increase their consumption of contect of course. They tend to go in for more durable goods and other things so that with a low score. There is a great deal prospect for big fish in the gutter. If the read receipt that's the voice of an expert doc to be you Ratchford associate professor of economics at Duke University. You remember his words the evolution of the South's textile tapestry. Last week you stood on the floor of the seventies plant in Rome Georgia and watch natural gas in air being solidified into delicate silk like yarn and you
marveled at this miracle of chemistry. It would seem to you now to do use new synthetic fibers offer a real threat to the superiority of cotton textiles you put the question to Mr. Elliott. Well it so happens that Miller is running entirely on. Ever seen ROOM. It's flexible for either gotten worse in my. Company and it's over our. Obsession and old but. We think that the simpler addicts have a better place. I think there are uses of that as a barrier to cause on the other hand I think we've had a good effect in that working up the gotten people. Styling that one asset to the competition of us and by the cop has got to be made more cracked. And there's been a wonderful job done in that connection I think there's room for both and. Of course.
We not only think the competition is helping. We think that here we have a lot of. Yes you learn that competition is key and text alone is keep a close watch on new waves. You visit one of copy's competitors a nylon plant in North Carolina. A tapestry of the textile industry has made a movement of noise as of now with you standing over your head in activity while workers concentrate on the task of making hoser you move toward the door. Outside you hope to find out a few things. One of the last thing but rather a bad one but it being made in the best
fashion knitting operation making women a robot out of his mouth on right out of the area in the broiling Alamance County city in this county we have a total of 11 the ends of the lake. That includes a trucking and terminal operator in a sump the warehousing operation is off route at about Prague. Most of his county installations we are now in as county our manufacturing plant in Burlington an element's County you find nice homes thriving communities a far cry from the scandalous mill towns that once plagued poor and downtrodden Dixie. Conditions have changed too in the middle of them sounds most odd but cleaner and private
development and the fact the land in recent years certainly a great deal. The attention is given to an S&M company. Overall how about some employees that did not appear to be so necessary at least went on a date if not it was not looked at it 25 years ago in a body it wanted to go into a manufacturing business if they had the money to put a Belling consisting of four walls and a roof at a foot that with machine rail added There was the open the doors and say to the people in the countryside come in and be gainfully employed and that was industrious so responsibility about jobs. Today things have changed a great change for the better. In addition. Gameplay plummet up I mean today and after today has to surround bap with something that week and the ambassador like referred to is correct we have to
provide now about all the jobs of people but we have to demonstrate that part of that is that you provide for your people help the comfortable surroundings out of dishes out of which to work. That's only a text till tapestry helps to form a major design in the development of a new and enterprising Southland a fabric filled with foresight and courage and ingenuity. While there have been many men many makers of progress since Eli Whitney and the magic bonbons have come a long way since calico. Today's textile operation fits in well with the coming all interest and friendly atmosphere of Southern cities and towns. Offering employment for thousands of local citizens circulating a payroll that measures into millions of dollars each year. How does it began. Well you might start with an empty can feel back in there like in 20 or so dispense a lot of shampoo that's coming out today where we are today where we'll be
successful over capital the original price of male clap was built that was started in the cotton and with it over a few months that machinery was taken out and the machinery was what and what how what was that. Now. The various So you see at a very very far as we know it today it's really come of age sex land but nevertheless must. Be made bedspreads with it when they are only a product of the bedspread. And. The company Bateson am from this community that original operation where they went out on the edge of town and knocked over some of their own stocks and put a plant out at a red cotton field and went to work with there is no right a plant employing some 200 people and contrast our present base article if ours doesn't stop there you ask does the efforts end in what was once
a cornfield. Oh no such foresight cannot be contained misprint in two of the communities. Other states even other countries today Burlington Mills how many more times Burlington a vivid example of how Southern texto plans have surpassed even their own expectations. Say you have a number where they locate majority of them all in the south. We are in eight states in the United States in a foreign country. Most of those states are here in the South Atlantic area our largest total number of plants are in North Carolina a state in which we have our second largest number as a genuine. We are also in West Virginia Tennessee Georgia Alabama those other southern states in which we primarily operate out and having plants located around the
world. But it is about effective and down and down but certainly south is certainly very much in the sun right now as a part of Texas and already here in the south are dominating in what you might say and text me with the fact that over the last several years a lot of creasing freehand on the part of Ewing on textile plants that move to the south taken every one of the reasons I have to do with several things including an ample available locations of plants in contrast to some of the crowded cities from which these plants are moving very favorable climate and available here in the south that have been found to be very satisfactory highly productive and in every respect of welcome.
In a way I was in the war. Well that's the location of my little lamb and it takes any question the way things are looking even more in the next can be very much more. This has been Program 14 of document Deep South a series of actuality documentaries depicting the increasing importance of the South in the economic development of our nation. This week dextro tapestry. The tradition and progress of the textile industry and the making of a new and finer fabric called the train Jing self.
Your narrator was wrong Whitaker document Deep South is written and produced by Leroy BANNERMAN Where the doctor wonder B Jones as senior consultant. Document Deep South is presented by the radio broadcasting services extension division University of Alabama and is made possible by our grant in aid from the fund for adult education.
An independent agency established by the mayor. And now this is King's bars reminding you that this has been a radio presentation at the University of Alabama. This is the ne e b network.
Document: Deep South
Textile tapestry
Producing Organization
University of Alabama
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Textiles date back to the days when cotton was king, but today forms a cloth of a different design. Modern developments, better working conditions, improved products are but a few threads of progress. Is cotton now obsolete due to man-made fibers?
Series Description
A series of documentaries depicting the increasing importance of the South in the economic development of the United States. Narrated by Walt Whitaker, written and produced by Leroy Bannerman, with Dr. Walter B. Jones as senior consultant.
Broadcast Date
Radio programs--United States.
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Advisor: Jones, Walter B. (Walter Bryan), 1895-1977
Funder: Fund for Adult Education (U.S.)
Narrator: Whitaker, Walter
Producer: Bannerman, Leroy
Producing Organization: University of Alabama
Writer: Bannerman, Leroy
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-15-14 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:20
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Chicago: “Document: Deep South; Textile tapestry,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 23, 2024,
MLA: “Document: Deep South; Textile tapestry.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Document: Deep South; Textile tapestry. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from